Street food with a story to tell
Itanoní is a restaurant in Oaxaca City’s Colonia Reforma neighbourhood (less than 30 minute walk from the zocalo) that sells street-style food using criollo (what we would call heirloom) corn. When you enter the open air eatery the first thing that you notice is the giant wood-burning comal in the centre. My dream home includes a comal like this in the middle of a circular kitchen.
Itanoní (Mixtec for flower of corn) is popular among locals and visitors to Oaxaca because the food has street food appeal without the chaos of street eating. They also have a printed menu (unlike most street vendors), making ordering less awkward for those who do not speak much Spanish.
They serve a variety of different hand held corn-based snacks including memelas, tostadas and tacos as well as the unique tetelas (stuffed corn triangles from the mixteca baja) and de ese (a rolled taco with an entire hierba santa leaf on the inside). Itanoní is also famous for it’s corn-based drinks including tascalate, a grainy orange-coloured cacao and maize drink from Chiapas.
They use maize (corn) from the different regions of Oaxaca in their distinct antojitos (snacks). In a country where machine-made tortillas are becoming the norm and genetically engineered corn is a very real threat Itanoní is a refreshing alternative. They are actively working to maintain the cultivation and culture of corn as it has been for thousands of years and to improve the food security of the southern state of Oaxaca.
The video below (in Spanish) is an interview with Itanoní’s owner.
Itanoní is located at Belisario Domnguez 513, Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca de Juarez